Spring? Spring!

I have a confession to make. I actually really like winter! I like doing inside things. I like eating comfort foods, watching basketball and piling on the layers. I feel cozy and comfortable and it's nice. There's a little part of me that get's a little sad when the sun stays out later. And March? Please. What a tease. You can take March. 

But once we hit mid-April, it's ON. Spring seems to be in town to stay and I'm ready to embrace it whole heartedly. For instance, earlier this week I took a detour from my usual running route to stop by the Kauffman Memorial Garden and I was BLOWN AWAY. The tulips were in full bloom. I almost couldn't believe my eyes. The very next day I said to hell with all deadlines (and other projects I can't tell you about yet) and took the day to visit the garden with my watercolors. 

Now I just want to ENVELOP myself in these yummy colors! And, thanks to the weird glorious site that is Society6, I can! I put my paintings on a whole bunch 'o crap so you can too! 

Summer State of Mind

While we're still quite a few months away from barefoot weather, a brief break from work and slightly sunnier days have put me in a summer state of mind. I'm hoping to take part in a few sales this summer and would love to start including some original paintings (a throughout studio clean out has emphasized the necessity of this). I've always wanted to revisit a quick plein air painting I did during "The Big Pic-Nic" at the Nelson-Atkins a couple years ago. Instant summer!

On Location: Kansas City Zoo

I took my class to the KC Zoo today. Between hunting them down and bugging them about their drawings, I did some sketching myself. This is the old Ape House that will be torn down tomorrow (as I was informed by a groundskeeper as I was drawing). Our zoo's primates now live in much more comfortable, natural habitats, which is fantastic. But it's still a little sad to see this old relic go. My students, most of whom are not from Kansas City, didn't have any memory of it. They all said it reminded them of Jurassic Park.

On Location: MOPACA

Missouri + Alpaca = MOPACA! Did you hear (you probably did)? I went to an Alpaca show over the weekend! I planned to stay an hour or so. Pet some alpacas, but some yarn….4.5 hours later I walked out of there with a sketchbook full of goodies. 

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Alpacas are such a funny looking animal, but they are also sweet (albeit smelly).

Most had no problem with visitors stopping by for a pet (or a hug!).

The judging process did seem to be a little stressful for them. But it was sweet to see their handlers comfort them, hold them, and try to get them to settle down. 

Wednesdays in Lawrence (pt. 2)

The next segment of drawings were created on days that barely made it to the double digits up to today, where we hit a balmy 77...so in Kansas speak, over the last three weeks. Enjoy!

Dyche Hall, Lippincott Hall 2/25/15

Dyche Hall, Lippincott Hall 2/25/15

Watson Library 2/25/15

Watson Library 2/25/15

Watson Library 2/25/15

Watson Library 2/25/15

Watson Library 2/25/15

Watson Library 2/25/15

The Museum of Natural History 3/4/15

The Museum of Natural History 3/4/15

The Granada 3/11/15

The Granada 3/11/15

The Granada 3/11/15

The Granada 3/11/15

Looking forward to even more outdoor drawing as the weather gets even nicer! Be sure you don't miss Wednedays in Lawrence Part 1

Wednesdays in Lawrence (pt. 1)

As many of you know, for the past two semesters, I've been teaching a class at my alma mater, The University of Kansas. This semester, I've decided to make the most of my 40 minute drive up to LFK (for the non-kansan) and start a weekly sketchbook project. Every Wednesday I'll spend an hour or two before or after class sketching on campus or somewhere around town. Typically, I'll go back to my studio and "complete" the pieces (so, no, not dragging an entire paint set around with me). Here are the results of my recent outings. I'll update here periodically, but be sure to follow my tumblr blog or for weekly updates! 

Wheatfields

Wheatfields

On the Hill

On the Hill

Murphy Hall Box Office

Murphy Hall Box Office

Murphy Hall benches. 

Murphy Hall benches. 

The Hill on a Cold, Cold Day.

The Hill on a Cold, Cold Day.

Christmas' Last Hurrah

After spending the majority of the holidays either sick and feeling utterly unmotivated to create, I was thrilled when the temps soared last Friday and I was able to get down to The Plaza to sketch! If you haven't yet been down to see one of Kansas City's favorite holiday attractions, you better hurry! Tonight is the last night. Below is my favorite painting of the the bunch. Check out my tumblr page for all my sketches!

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Lil' Quickies

During the Brush Creek Art Walk I had an epiphany. I've always been of the mindset that watercolor is somewhat of a quick medium. It's not like oil or colored pencils where you can spend hours and hours building up an image. If you paint over a watercolor too much, you just get mud. While the act of watercolor is relatively fast, the thought process behind it can be excruciatingly slow. It's a lot of testing out colors to make sure you get just the right one (there's no going back, no command-Z!) and reverse thinking on how to get the highlights and shadows just right.

After being disappointed in how far I could get during the first two-hour quick paint competition at the Art Walk, I decided to keep it small for the second. This image measures 5'x5' and took about an hour and a half. 

It was a blast. So. I did some more. I think I would like to make this a regular thing. After all, I can always spare an hour and a half in the name of watercolor. 

And speaking of thought process, I took some photos of my plaza painting along the way to make this litter gif. I like gifs. 

On Location: Lawrence City Band

My summer sketch club has been seeing the sights this summer! While we typically frequent iconic locations in Kansas City, this past week we hit the road and traveled west to Lawrence, Kansas ( aka Larryville, L-Town, LFK and the Home of the Jayhawks). If you know very little about me, you probably know that Lawrence holds a very special place in my heart.

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If you know a little more about me, you know that I used to play the clarinet. I played throughout college on a scholarship and even a little while after with various groups including the Lawrence City Band.

The band plays every Summer Wednesday in South Park located in downtown Lawrence. Having been a former musician with the band I knew that they also rehearse two hours before every concert at KU's Murphy Hall. I shot off a quick email to the director and got the ok to come draw the musicians during their rehearsal. 

 

It wasn't until I was in that room drawing and listening to the music that I realized how much I missed playing myself. I did the math and figured that I spent approximately 1080 hours playing in that rehearsal room in Murphy Hall during my college days! That doesn't include the time spent in my professor's office or the creepy old practice rooms on the top floor (that I'm now kicking myself that I didn't draw as well!). It's no wonder old memories surfaced.

This post goes out to my old band buds, especially those who are still making music. In whatever capacity! It takes effort and you rock (or toot or blow :)

 

An Obsession.

It's officially summer in these parts. And you know what, it hasn't been terrible! I've been keeping very busy these days teaching drawing at KCAI, working for Petite Alma, Storybird, and a very new exciting book project! I've also started up a drawing on location group here in Kansas City (just like the one in NYC last summer). It's been a lot of fun exploring my hometown, meeting new people and seeing everything through new eyes. 

Last week we met at the Plaza (and outdoor shopping area in midtown KC). I live near by, so I actually come down to draw at the Plaza quite a bit. I've been enamored with the J.C. Nichols fountain and the sculptures of the horses that represent four major rivers of the world (The Mississippi, Volga, Seine and Rhine). After Sketch Club was over, I passed by the fountain on my way home and was just stunned by how pretty it looked all lit up. It was a have-to-draw moment. 

Night Fountain, Kansas City

Night Fountain, Kansas City

Of course, this isn't what I sat down and painted on location! I've been wanting to experiment with taking my sketchbook drawings and paintings and turning them into more refined larger paintings and practice my watercolor skills in the process. This piece is 12x16" and done completely in watercolor with a bit of white gouache (look ma, no photoshop!). 

Keep in mind, this was not my first shot at the fountain. I've been drawing it regularly all spring and have finally captured all four horses. Here are a few of my other Fountain pieces:

this one is the on-location sketch of the above, larger piece

this one is the on-location sketch of the above, larger piece


Obsessions are fun, aren't they? While I sometimes post my location drawings on this blog, I always post them on my tumblr, so make sure to follow me there as well! 

Sketchbook Selfies

This is a little game I like to play with myself. I'm always snapping pics of the scenes I go out and draw, so from time to time, I'll take a sketchbook "selfie" (to use the buzz word). Sometimes it works, sometimes not so much. Here are some of my favorites. 

Peak's Island, Maine

Peak's Island, Maine

Central Park (the one that started it all)

Central Park (the one that started it all)

our apartment in Astoria, Queens

our apartment in Astoria, Queens

Mets Game

Mets Game

Country Club Plaza, Kansas City

Country Club Plaza, Kansas City

Bryant Park

Bryant Park

On Location: DUMBO

My Wednesday night drawing group has been going great this summer! While we could always handle a few more drawers, I've really enjoyed spending time with friends and also making some new ones! A couple weeks ago we went to the Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo. It really is quite spectacular in the evenings. I've really been enjoying taking my little watercolor set out on my drawing adventures. A little color can make a big impact!

 

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On Location: New York Public Library

Last Wednesday night I met a few old friends, and a couple of new ones for a night of drawing in Bryant Park! It's a group I've recently organized called the Draw Club (super creative, no?). We meet at a new place in the city every week. We draw for three hours and then we share our drawings. Pretty simple. The point is to keep up our location drawing skills, build a community of illustrators and to enjoy and record this amazing city we all call home. If you're an illustrator reading this, check out our tumblr page for updates and where we are heading next! We meet every Wednesday night this summer from 6-9 pm, and I promise, we're nice! Our next destination is the Highline/Chelsea Market. Maybe I'll see you there!

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Sandy Sketches

We're going on day two of being holed up in our litter apartment here in New York. We were very fortunate and have both our power and internet, but that doesn't mean it's been all movies and beer for the last couple of days. We did to quite a bit of prep before Sandy rolled through. Bought tons of food and filled every possible surface in our kitchen with containers of water...

Yesterday, while I drew everything in site, Zack worked diligently at the kitchen island on some architecting...

The most visible damage on our street is a tree that lost it's branches and rested ever so delicately on the near by power lines...

I watched it happen last night around 6 and just waited for the power to go, but you know what...it never did! we are truly lucky. My heart goes out to those not as fortunate as us. Especially those and the family of those at the NYU Hospital that lost it's power and the people there who were busy fighting for their lives in the first place to prepare for another disaster. For some reason, that story struck me most of all. I hope everyone has been relocated and doing the best they can.

Fleeting Days

The final days of summer are upon us, and, as a New Yorker, I can't say that I'm all that sad to see them go (autumn is really the show stopper here). Even still, I've had this need to record what's left of what turned out to be a very busy and somewhat transformative summer. While relocating studios, I stumbled upon a pad of watercolor paper postcards which turned out to be the perfect place to start...

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On Location: The Q Train

Well, folks, this is it–my final SVA sponsored post! This was my final project for my drawing on location class. I intrigued by the subway stations in this city. They are all so different. Some are beautiful and bright and some are downright creepy! I wanted to draw some of the stations on my daily commute from Queens to Manhattan and I chose to juxtapose each station with what lies above (or, if you're up in Queens, below) the station. Same location, two different worlds. I'm planning on making this an ongoing project and would definitely like to do the whole Q-train route over the summer!

Cover 1.Astoria

Astoria Boulevard

 

 2.Queensborough

Queensboro Plaza

 

 3.TimesSquare

Times Square, 42nd Street

 

4.23rd

23rd Street

 

5.CanalSt

Canal Street

6.Courtelyou

Courtelyou Road